The long-running feud between Italian physicists Ignazio Ciufolini and Lorenzo Iorio (which we’ve covered here and here) turned up a notch in November, when Ciufolini filed a defamation lawsuit against Iorio.
You can read the full lawsuit here (in Italian). The gist is this: Iorio accused Ciufolini of criticizing the work of other physicists on ArXiv.org under two separate pseudonyms (in a letter which the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, which published his claims, later retracted, saying it was a matter better handled locally). Iorio later left critical comments on articles about Ciufolini on the Science blog, Neuroskeptic, and an Italian newspaper La Repubblica‘s website.
This fight has a long history, despite the two having published articles together in the past. In 2004, Ciufolini’s lawyer sent Iorio a vaguely threatening letter (also in Italian) that had no specifics about what Iorio was doing wrong. Iorio described to us what the letter referred to:
This is a threatening letter by the lawyier by Ciufolini sent in 2004 after the Nature Letter in which he plagiarized me was published. In this letter he blames me for some alleged rude expressions, not quoted there, I would have used in a private exchange of mails with Ciufolini.
No further legal consequences occurred. The only consequences were to make me even more furious and determined not to be intimidated by a person like him.
Ciufolini sued Iorio once before, in 2011, in response to comments he left on this blog post under the name Solobufale, which means “only hoaxes” in Italian. Huge thanks to friend of Retraction Watch Amelia Beltramini for her translation:
You are darkened so much from your inferiority complex, from your megalomania, from your paranoia, from your persecution complex, from your intrinsic intellectual dishonesty, besides human, by your disloyalty? Do you like so much to be here to be made fun of in this manner? All the more so, then, everyone knows who you are! But do you enjoy it so much? What results do you hope to achieve, then?
Ah, then I forgot, that, apparently, in the days of the New Astronomy, rankings of most downloaded paper regularly gave still in the lead, most downloaded, the paper of the hunted by all, compared to those of the Galactic Megaemperor ….. “THE WORLD IS MINEEEEEEEEEEE !!!!!!! “
Go, Verità [the username Iorio says Ciufolini was commenting under]. Go on, you’re a legend …. PS But you’re writing from the psychiatric hospital, aren’t you?
Beltramini also translated comments on the site by user “Verità,” which means truth:
Also, if the intelligent reader will want to have fun, I suggest you read the article by Iorio “High-precision measurement of frame-dragging with the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in the gravitational field of Mars” where this individual claims to have measured the effect of frame-dragging due to the rotation of Mars.
Can be found at http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/gr-qc/0701042v1…It would also be very interesting to do a search to see if there is an article by a serious scientist who cites this paper by Iorio except to say that the work is deeply wrong. You can for example do a simple search on Google Scholar to find many papers, from all over the world, showing that this paper is meaningless! “Not even wrong” would say the great Gamov!
We’ve made the entire translation available here.
The first lawsuit is still in progress. We’ve reached out to Ciufolini, and will update if we hear back.